Improvement from the blue line
The defense is playing better over the past three games. Even in a 2-1 overtime loss against the Flyers last week, the Canes defense was much better. And, it took an overtime goal, that squeaked between the legs of Ward, to outdo the Canes who were the better team in that contest.
It’s not just the defensive reliability of Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce that is huge for the entire team at this moment. Pesce scored a goal in the win over Vancouver. Slavin also posted a point in each of the last two games.
A key defenseman that the Canes need to come up big right now is co-captain Justin Faulk. Peters has tooled around with the defensive pairings outside of Slavin and Pesce. Faulk is getting looks with Klas Dahlbeck of late. But, Haydn Fleury has stayed in the mix too.
The pairing of Trevor van Riemsdyk and Noah Hanifin has been inconsistent but producing mostly positive results, especially for a third defensive pairing. Hopefully, Hanifin’s offensive production picks back up after a dip since the turn of the calendar year.